Tag: Photo North Korea

Kim Jong-un’s younger sister gives first known official statement, insults South Korea

Korea, Republic Of

In her first known official statement, the younger sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has levelled diatribes and insults against rival South Korea for protesting her country’s latest live-fire exercises.

Key points:

  • Kim Yo-jong described South Korea’s presidential Blue House as “a mere child” and “a burnt child dreading fire”
  • Ms Kim’s statement was issued in her capacity as a first vice-department director of the Workers Party’s Central Committee
  • Analyst Cheong Seong-chang said Ms Kim’s statement “suggests that her status and influence have been expanded”

Kim Yo-jong is in charge of propaganda affairs for North Korea and has frequently appeared at her brother’s major public events including summits with US President Donald Trump and other regional leaders.

But her statement carried by state media was the first of its kind and indicated a further elevation of her political status.

In the statement, she criticised South Korea’s presidential Blue House for expressing strong concerns over the North’s firing drills and urging it to stop acts that do not help reduce military animosities.

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“As far as I know, the South side is also fond of joint military exercises and it is preoccupied with all the disgusting acts like purchasing ultra-modern military hardware,” Kim Yo-jong said.

“They meant they need to get militarily prepared but we should be discouraged from military exercises. Such a gangster-like assertion can never be expected from those with normal way of thinking.”

Describing the Blue House as “a mere child” and “a burnt child dreading fire”, she questioned how its words and actions could be “so perfectly foolish in detail”.

Ms Kim did not name liberal South Korean President Moon Jae-in, whom she has met several times.

She only said: “The South side’s response is so regretful and disappointing but it is somewhat fortunate that it was not a direct statement of the President.”

South Korea’s Unification Ministry, which handles inter-Korean affairs, said it had no specific comment on Ms Kim’s statement.


North Korea fired two suspected short-range ballistic missile launches earlier this week. (AP: Lee Jin-man)

But spokesman Yoh Sang-key said the two Koreas should maintain mutual respect while working toward establishing peace on the Korean Peninsula.

North Korean state media said Mr Kim supervised a live-fire rocket artillery exercise in an apparent reference to the two suspected short-range ballistic missile launches detected by South Korea’s military.

On Saturday, North Korea said Mr Kim also guided an artillery drill aimed at testing the combat readiness of military units.

The back-to-back firing exercises were an apparent show of force by Mr Kim, who had earlier vowed to bolster his nuclear deterrent and warned of “shocking action” over now-stalled nuclear negotiations with Mr Trump.

The latest firing drills were his first weapons tests since late November.

‘Kim Yo-jong’s influence expanded’

Ms Kim’s statement was issued in her capacity as a first vice-department director of the Workers Party’s Central Committee.


Kim Yo-jong levelled insults against rival South Korea in her first known official statement. ((Pyongyang Press Corps Pool via AP, File Photo)

She also serves as an alternate member of the North’s powerful Politburo and a member of the rubber-stamp parliament.

South Korean officials and experts say she’s virtually the North’s top propaganda official.

Analyst Cheong Seong-chang, from South Korea’s private Sejong Institute, said Ms Kim’s statement “suggests that her status and influence have been expanded to such an extent as to express her opinions externally and beyond playing a role of assisting Chairman Kim Jong-un on his public activities”.

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Believed to be in her early 30s, Ms Kim took a prominent role at a series of summits with Mr Trump, Mr Moon and Chinese President Xi Jinping since North Korea entered talks on the fate of its advancing nuclear arsenal in 2018.

During one of the three summits with Mr Moon in 2018, Ms Kim handed her brother a pen when he signed the guestbook, and took his gloves after he shovelled dirt on a ceremonial tree and a bouquet of flowers that he had been handed at the border.

Her proximity to her brother during the summit sparked outside speculation that she may be the number two in the North after her brother executed and purged potential rivals who could pose a threat to his family’s rule.

Earlier in 2018, she came to South Korea to attend the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, becoming the first member of the North’s ruling family to visit the South since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War.

At the time, she met Mr Moon and conveyed her brother’s invitation to meet in Pyongyang.


Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news

North Korea’s Kim Jong-un threatens ‘shocking action’ against US

Korea, Democratic People's Republic Of

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has accused the Trump administration of dragging its feet in nuclear negotiations and warned that his country will soon show a new strategic weapon to the world as it bolsters its nuclear deterrent in the face of “gangster-like” US pressure.

Key points:

  • Kim said US was “abusing” dialogue for “sordid aims” and it will shift to “shocking action to make it pay”
  • Trump said he liked Kim and said he was “a man of his word” on denuclearisation
  • The prolonged standstill has dimmed hopes for achieving full denuclearisation

In a key ruling party conference, Mr Kim also threatened “shocking” action and said North Korea would no longer be obligated to maintain a self-imposed suspension on the testing of nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missiles, which US President Donald Trump has touted as a major diplomatic accomplishment.

But Mr Kim gave no clear indication that the restarting of such tests was imminent and seemed to leave the door open for eventual negotiations.

The developments come after North Korea threatened the US with a “Christmas gift” that security experts anticipated would be a long-range or nuclear missile launch, but Mr Trump reiterated he hoped instead for a “beautiful vase” from Mr Kim.

The prolonged standstill has dimmed hopes for achieving full denuclearisation of the country through diplomacy.

‘Make it pay’

Mr Kim’s comments were published by state media the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on Wednesday and were made during a four-day meeting of the ruling Workers’ Party’s Central Committee.

He declared that the North will never give up its security for economic benefits in the face of what he described as increasing US hostility and nuclear threats, KCNA said.


The prolonged standstill has dimmed hopes for achieving full denuclearisation of the country through diplomacy. (AP: Lee Jin-man)

The remarks come as talks faltered between Washington and Pyongyang over disagreements involving disarmament steps and the removal of sanctions imposed on North Korea.

“[Mr Kim] said that we will never allow the impudent US to abuse the DPRK–US dialogue for meeting its sordid aim but will shift to a shocking actual action to make it pay for the pains sustained by our people so far and for the development so far restrained,” the agency said, referring to the North by its formal name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

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Mr Kim added that, “if the US persists in its hostile policy toward the DPRK, there will never be the denuclearisation on the Korean Peninsula and the DPRK will steadily develop necessary and prerequisite strategic weapons for the security of the state until the US rolls back its hostile policy”.

“[Mr Kim] confirmed that the world will witness a new strategic weapon to be possessed by the DPRK in the near future, declaring that we cannot give up the security of our future just for the visible economic results and happiness and comfort in reality now that hostile acts and nuclear threat against us are increasing,” the report said.

Trump calls Kim ‘a man of his word’

In an interview with CBS News, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said it would be “deeply disappointing” if Mr Kim reneges on his commitment to pause nuclear and long-range missile tests.

“He made those commitments to President Trump in exchange for President Trump agreeing not to conduct large-scale military exercises,” Mr Pompeo said.

“We’ve lived up to our commitments. We continue to hold out hope that he’ll live up to his as well.”


American President Donald Trump says Mr Kim is “a man of his word”. (Reuters: KCNA)

Mr Trump told reporters on New Year’s Eve that he has “a very good relationship” with the North Korean leader.

“I know he’s sending out certain messages about Christmas presents, and I hope his Christmas present is a beautiful vase. That’s what I’d like, a vase, as opposed to something else,” he said.

“Look, he likes me, I like him, we get along … we have to do what we have to do.

“But he did sign a contract, he did sign an agreement talking about denuclearisation … that was done in Singapore.

“And I think he’s a man of his word.”

Rocky relationship between US and North Korea

The North Korean report was vague about the new strategic weapon the country would reveal soon.

It had announced in December that it performed two “crucial” tests at its long-range rocket launch site that would further strengthen its nuclear deterrent, prompting speculation it was developing a new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) or planning a satellite launch that could help advance its missile technologies.


Mr Trump and Mr Kim shared a historic handshake at the demilitarised zone in June 2019. (Reuters: Kevin Lamarque)

North Korea has held to its self-imposed moratorium on nuclear and ICBM testing since 2018, though last year it ended a 17-month pause in ballistic activity by testing a slew of solid-fuel weapons that potentially expanded its capabilities to strike targets in South Korea and Japan, including US military bases there.

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While Mr Kim in his remarks at the party meeting gave no clear indication he was abandoning negotiations with the United States entirely or restarting the suspended tests, he said North Korea’s efforts to bolster its deterrent will be “properly coordinated” depending on future US attitudes.

He warned that the more Washington stalls, “the more helpless it will find itself before the might of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea getting stronger beyond prediction”.

Mr Kim and Mr Trump have met three times since June 2018, but the nuclear negotiations have faltered since the collapse of their second summit last February, when the Americans rejected North Korean demands for broad sanctions relief in exchange for a partial surrender of its nuclear capabilities.


North Korea had threatened the US with a “Christmas gift” last month. (Reuters: Damir Sagolj)

Following the collapse of the Hanoi summit, Kim demanded that Washington come up with new proposals by the end of 2019 to salvage the negotiations.

The Trump administration, which sees economic pressure as its main leverage with Pyongyang, rejected Mr Kim’s end-of-year deadline and urged the North to return to negotiations.


Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news

Fireworks, protests and notes of hope bring in new year around the world


The world has welcomed the new year with spectacular firework displays from Sydney to Tokyo, but this year, the festive mood has been overshadowed by deadly bushfires and ongoing protests.

Across the globe, iconic buildings and landmarks exploded in colour and light as fireworks displays marked the end of a decade that will be remembered for the rise of social media, the Arab Spring, the #MeToo movement and, of course, US President Donald Trump.


Hundred of thousands of people celebrated New Year’s Eve in Berlin. (AP: Christophe Gateau/dpa)

Auckland was one of the first cities to welcome 2020 with a fireworks display launched from the city’s Sky Tower.

External Link:

Wishing everyone a bright 2020 from Auckland, New Zealand!

About a million revellers gathered in Sydney Harbour and nearby districts to watch more than 100,000 fireworks explode above the city, even as thousands of people along Australia’s eastern seaboard sought refuge from the bushfires on beaches.

Controversy overshadowed the iconic harbour celebrations amid calls for the display to be cancelled in solidarity with fire-hit areas in New South Wales.

Video: Australia welcomed 2020 with fireworks display lighting up the skies around the country (Image: Bellinda Kontominas)

(ABC News)

Elsewhere, protests and tear gas rang in the New Year. Thousands of Hongkongers welcoming 2020 on neon-lit promenades in the picturesque Victoria Harbour broke into pro-democracy chants shortly after the countdown to midnight.

Hong Kong authorities cancelled the main midnight fireworks display for the first time in a decade, citing security concerns.


Hong Kong authorities cancelled the main midnight fireworks display for the first time in a decade, citing security concerns. (AP: Vincent Yu)

A Symphony of Lights took place instead, involving projections on the city’s tallest skyscrapers, while smaller-scale pyrotechnics were launched from waterfront rooftops.

Pyongyang, the capital of isolated North Korea, welcomed the new year with fireworks displays, while in Seoul, thousands gathered for a traditional bell-tolling ceremony and hung notes of new year’s wishes.


North Korea celebrated with an elaborate fireworks display at the Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang. (AP: Jon Chol Jin)


A woman hangs a paper note bearing her New Year wishes to a wire at Jogyesa Buddhist temple in Seoul, South Korea. (AP: Ahn Young-joon)

In the Philippines, people set off firecrackers in the belief that this will drive away bad spirits and bring good luck.

During New Year’s Eve, Filipinos gathered for a midnight feast that symbolises their hopes for prosperity and an abundant year ahead.


Filipinos welcome the new year with noise and firecrackers in the belief that this will drive away bad spirits and bring in good luck. (AP: Aaron Favila)

Thousands of Indians ushered in the New Year by demonstrating against a citizenship law despite Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s attempts to dampen protests that have run for nearly three weeks.


People celebrated the New Year in front of the iconic Gateway of India in Mumbai. (AP: Rajanish Kakade)

In Pakistan, children held a candlelight vigil to pay tribute to victims of terrorism in 2019.


Pakistani children hold a candlelight vigil to pay tribute to victims of terrorism in 2019. (AP: KM Chaudary)

Russians began the world’s longest continuous New Year’s Eve with fireworks and a message from President Vladimir Putin urging them to work together in the coming year.

Mr Putin made a short speech broadcast on television just before the stroke of midnight in each of Russia’s 11 time zones.


Fireworks explode over the Kremlin during New Year’s celebrations in Red Square. (AP: Denis Tyrin)


Russia’s 11 time zones celebrated the world’s longest continuous New Year’s Eve. (AP: Alexander Zemlianichenko)

For nearly 10 minutes, fireworks lit the sky over Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, as hundreds of thousands gathered downtown to watch the spectacular display.

To keep the massive crowds safe, police created walkways around the Burj Khalifa tower for male-only groups to separate them from families and women.

External Link:

من #دبي إلى العالم.. كل عام وأنتم بخير #رأس_السنة_في_دبي

Celebrations have now begun across Europe with fireworks exploding above iconic buildings and statues.

Londoners were making their way to the banks of the River Thames to jostle for position to watch a spectacular fireworks display launched from the London Eye and barges near Parliament.


Fireworks light the sky above an illuminated Christmas tree at the Cathedral Square in Vilnius, Lithuania. (AP: Mindaugas Kulbis)


In Paris, fireworks lit up the Arc de Triomphe along on the Champs Elysees. (AP: Christophe Ena)

In New York, crowds gathered early in anticipation of the famous 60-second ball drop that will count in the new year at midnight local time, as 1,360 kilograms of confetti falls on Times Square.

While Samoa is one of the first places to mark the new year, neighbouring American Samoa — about 100 kilometres away but on the other side of the International Date Line — is one of the last, celebrating 25 hours later.

But the party is subdued in Samoa as the country recovers from a measles epidemic in late 2019 that claimed 81 lives, mostly children under 5.


Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news

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